BY CHARIS JOY JACKSON
Ugly actors are those elite few who I believe really work for the role, not themselves. The ones who are more interested in telling the truth over wondering if they look good on screen.
I’m very happy to add Daniel Radcliffe to the ranks of ugly actors. This young man has a long career ahead of him and I for one don’t want to miss a moment.
I’ll admit, since his days as Potter, I haven’t really followed the actor much. Then the other night I came upon Swiss Army Man and realised, “Here’s an actor I should pay more attention too.” Yes, I know, I’m late to the party with this quirky and weird 2016 film, but better late than never, right?! Especially since it opened my eyes to several amazing indie films starring Radcliffe.
EMBRACING THE UNCOMFORTABLEThis is one area I feel Radcliffe exells at in Swiss Army Man. This film is full of uncomfortable topics, but Radcliffe doesn’t flinch. His character is innocent to the things that shame the rest of us and I can only imagine this would have been an interesting feat to get past in order for the theme of the story to come across well.
His performance and choices are fascinatingly ugly. Absolutely amazing. I mean come on! He’s playing the part of a dead man who’s slowly coming back to life. With little ability to move because of rigamortis all the ugly goodness is done without a lot physical life. In other words, you see it coming across more from the inner life he’s built than the outer appearance.
EMBRACING THE INDEPENDENT FILM
One reason I believe Radcliffe is having such success as an ugly actor is because he’s not trying to maintain his social status in the hearts and minds of his fans, but he’s doing the job. Even when he’s in popular blockbusters, it’s minor roles.
This can be a hard transition for an actor of his calibre, but I never see any frustration or shame at the “small roles” he’s taking on. He owns them one hundred percent and the result is a refined actor who’s doing the work to continue growing in his craft, not the fame.
And it shows in the plays he’s chosen too. He studied with a voice coach for 18 months prior to the 2007 West End production of Equus, which he then reprised on Broadway until 2009. He also learned to sing and dance for a broadway musical!
In an interview for Independent he tells the reporter that natural abilities on their own are worthless, “… you have to want to work.” With the amount of effort and focus this young man displays, I think he has a long career ahead of him. In a recent interview with ET Radcliffe talks about the unique experience of shooting Beast of Burden, “We were doing like, half an hour long takes that accounted for 20, 25 pages of script. I’ve never done that before, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to do it again … It was a really cool, really different way of working.”
If you want to see his most epic ugly acting roles watch Swiss Army Man, What If, and Jungle. And be on the lookout for his new film Beast of Burden.
Seeing this glimpse into Radcliffe’s work has really woken something in me to be tenacious in my acting. His commitment to every role he chooses is incredibly powerful to watch. If you’re an aspiring actor looking for inspiration, then keep an eye on this guy because Harry Potter was just the beginning.